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Legislative Mileage Reimbursements Pad Pensions, Cheat Taxpayers

January 11th, 2017 · 18 Comments · Analysis and Comment, News and Events

You could argue state legislators are showing up to represent their peeps. But, and it’s a big one, should mileage reimbursements pad pensions? Both Democrats and Republicans benefit from this dubious perk.

From the Yankee Institute:

Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and the Hartford Courant have recently called attention to legislators using mileage reimbursement to increase their compensation and pad their pensions.

Connecticut has a part-time legislature. State senators and representatives receive a salary of $28,000 per year for their service plus mileage reimbursement. Because it is a part-time legislature, most state politicians have jobs or other sources of income outside of the state legislature.

There were 251 working days in 2015. Legislators who received mileage reimbursement claimed anywhere from 1 to 245 trips from their hometown to the capitol.

Yankee Institute obtained the mileage and reimbursement figures for all state senator and representatives through a Freedom of Information request. The response from the Office of Legislative Management is available here. The documented dates for reimbursement range from 2013 in some cases through October of 2015.

Below is a list of the 15 lawmakers who logged the most trips over a 12-month period ending with the last month listed in the documentation. (The reimbursements have been adjusted to reflect the same 12-month period as the trips. For full documentation of all mileage reimbursements see the document from OLM.)

Full story here.

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18 Comments so far ↓

  • Follow the Money

    Jack the Ripper-Offer Hennessy! 231 Trips? Talk about a Federal Express!!!

  • Ben Henson

    “Most politicians have jobs or other sources of income outside of the state legislature.” Most. I might be in the minority, but perks such as this that encourage or even enable people from all walks of life to serve all of us in this capacity are important and should be protected, not attacked for political gain as Herbst is doing.

  • Donald Day

    Mr. Henson, with all due respect after looking over this report one is left to believe John Hennessy is indeed padding his mileage reimbursement. Take a look at Chris Rosario, both Bridgeport representatives who during the same time frame as John recorded 9,156 miles or 832 miles per month while John recorded 25,410 or 2,117 miles per month. One is left to believe John drove almost three times as far as Chris, recorded almost three times the monthly mileage as Chris or he padded his mileage reimbursement form.

    While I’m not saying John indeed padded his reimbursement form what I am saying is it’s one of those things that make you go HMMM.

  • Grin Ripper

    He must be using his EZ Pass!

  • Ron Mackey

    Connecticut has a part-time legislature and mileage reimbursement that can be different for members because of their committee assignments because some committees have more business than other committees.

  • Grin Ripper

    C’mon Ron, everybody knows Jack is a Solitary Man!

  • Frank Gyure

    Some balance needs to be created. There should be some FIXED compensation for costs beyond initial salary or the initial salary should be increased with no further compensation. The huge variances by different members of the General Assembly are completely unwarranted. Something stinks.

    • Ron Mackey

      How do you know they are unwarranted?

      • Frank Gyure

        Legislators need to record their expenses. How do I know they are unwarranted? Let me ask you this? How do you know they are warranted? Can you offer a guarantee that Hennessy’s expenses are warranted? If legislators don’t want to take the extra steps they sought through election, then they should step aside and let someone else do the job. The main question is that these “expenses” add to pension payouts down the road. We need an answer for that.

        • Ron Mackey

          Frank, if you think Rep. Hennessy’s expenses are unwarranted then file a complaint against him and have your proof. The same claim can be made about the 535 members of the U.S. House and Senate.

          • Frank Gyure

            The mileage may be legitimate but the monetary reimbursement should not be used towards pension calculations.

  • Ron Mackey

    Frank, what you are suggesting is our Legislators need to be people of wealth or those who have professions like Dennis Bradley, being an attorney who can have a flexible schedule and who don’t really need the income as a Legislator to take care of their family.

    • Frank Gyure

      Ron, I am not suggesting that at all. Per the article, most state reps have a regular full-time job and the job of state rep can be seen as “part time” due to the amount of time the General Assembly is in session and the fact the salary is $28,000 per year. I will assume that is gross and taxes need to be taken off that. It’s extremely difficult to live in CT on a gross salary of $28,000. I would assume most if not all state reps have jobs, higher levels of education that allowed them to partake of community service and then led to a political path. Anyone who seeks political office will need to bear in mind the demands of that position. If they have a job situation or family commitments that would prevent them or create great difficulty in the performance of the political office, I would think (and I would certainly hope) such a conflict would cause a person not to seek political office. I did a perfunctory review of the 185 pages of this report and State Rep. Hennessy’s mileage expenses seem to be quite high. I could do further analysis if you want me to do so.

      • Ron Mackey

        Frank, again they are “part-time Legislators,” which means they are not working full-time on their main job. As for Rep. Hennessy, if you feel he’s abusing the system then you should file a complaint but I don’t see a problem.

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